- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 15, 2009


Man killed by train worked for Metro

A man killed in a downtown Metro subway station was a bus driver on administrative leave from the transit agency, authorities said.

Metro officials on Saturday identified the man as Kurtland Johnson, 42, of the District. Witnesses reported that Mr. Johnson intentionally stepped in front of a train Friday afternoon at the McPherson Square station, authorities said.

Mr. Johnson was a Metrobus operator since September, authorities said. He was on administrative leave pending an investigation into a March 6 incident in which the bus he was driving struck a car at Connecticut Avenue and Van Ness Street Northwest, officials said.

No one was injured, and no charges were filed in that crash, officials said.

D.C. police and the city medical examiner’s office are investigating Mr. Johnson’s death.



Governor abandons death penalty repeal

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a Democrat, said he is giving up on an effort to repeal the death penalty and is urging lawmakers to support a bill that would limit capital punishment cases.

Abolishing the death penalty would not be possible unless there are changes in the closely divided Senate following the 2010 elections, the governor said. The Senate rejected a repeal bill earlier this month, passing instead a bill that would limit evidence allowed in death penalty cases.

Mr. O’Malley said he is prepared to move ahead with new lethal-injection regulations an appeals court has said are needed before executions can resume in Maryland, and he will begin reviewing the state’s five death-row cases.

The House Judiciary Committee meets Tuesday to debate both the repeal and the Senate proposal.


Police kill man in hostage standoff

A man armed with a machete who was holding his granddaughter hostage was shot and killed early Saturday following a struggle, Baltimore police said.

Officers tried to negotiate with Samuel Cosby, 48, for 90 minutes before a tactical team was sent into the home, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. Officers found Mr. Cosby on the third floor holding a machete and the girl, 4, and tried to gain control of the knife, police said.

During the struggle, Officer Garfield O’Toole shot Mr. Cosby multiple times, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The girl was not hurt, and one officer suffered minor injuries, police said.


Health officer takes FDA post

The naming of health Commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein as deputy Food and Drug Administration commissioner is a bittersweet loss for the city and a gain for the nation, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon, a Democrat, said Saturday.

Mrs. Dixon said she is proud that one of Baltimore’s own has the opportunity to make the United States a healthier nation.

Olivia Farrow will serve as interim commissioner while a search is conducted to find a replacement for Dr. Sharfstein, Mrs. Dixon said.

Dr. Sharfstein said the appointment is an incredible opportunity to work on behalf of public health at the national level. He said he plans to step down March 27.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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